Thursday, September 8, 2011

Inependents Day

The prep for President Obama’s speech before Congress tonight is pointing to an appeal to independent voters… which makes you wonder why he’s thinking he’s going to find any in the Capitol. Putting out proposals that the Republicans once supported is a way of tweaking their noses; he could reel off the GOP platform and they still wouldn’t go for it.

Frankly, I think going after independent voters is a fool’s errand. Many of them are the people who say they’re open-minded to ideas from both parties and represent the sacred and coveted vast middle of the electorate, but what that really means is that these are people who pay so little attention to some of the core issues that they can be bought off with a whistle, a wink, and Wildroot from either side. These are the ones who voted for Barack Obama in 2008 because they went for the “New America” line, but could just as easily go for Rick Perry because, well, he’s cute. These aren’t the people you can count on to stick with an economic policy because they couldn’t be bothered to understand it in the beginning. That’s not to say there aren’t some truly independent voters who know the issues, but in many respects, they’re like Captain Renault in Casablanca; they’re charming, they provide a bit of comic relief, but in the end they aren’t the major character in the story.

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The kerfuffle last week about when to have the president address Congress is playing out as a win for Mr. Obama. After last night’s debate, literally under the wing of Ronald Reagan’s old Air Force One, the president is going to really seem like the grown-up in the room tonight, and the folks like Rep. Joe Walsh (R-IL), who plan to boycott the speech, come across as ill-bred whiners, stamping their feet and holding their breath until they turn blue.

And maybe, just maybe, there might be some actual substance in what Mr. Obama will propose and that the Villagers will actually find something to talk about other than how many times the GOP sat on their hands, made faces, and doodled on the cover of their notebooks.

Well, a guy can dream, can’t he?